As the host of ESPN’s top debate show “First Take,” Molly Qerim is automatically thrust into the middle of every sports news topic — including whether the New England Patriots should visit President Trump in the White House to celebrate their win.
Sitting between analysts Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman in the Bristol, Connecticut, studio, she says her job is to “move the conversation forward, to play devil’s advocate, to bring up points of order so we can touch on a lot of different topics.”
“When there’s a debate with multiple people,” she told TheWrap, “you are literally trying to moderate and get everybody involved in the conversation”.
Sounds like a presidential debate moderator. So we asked Qerim how she felt about some one of the biggest political stories in sports: some New England Patriots players refusing to meet with Trump on April 19.
“I know Tom Brady has gone [to the White House] so many times, but as far as other players choosing to go or not to go — that is their prerogative. They won a Super Bowl and if they want to celebrate and be honored with whoever is in the White House, then they should go for it, and if they don’t they shouldn’t have to.”
LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty, Martellus Bennett and Chris Long have all said they don’t want to meet with Trump. And while the latter two players are no longer with the Patriots, they are still on the White House’s invite list.
“I think it is pretty cool to have that once-in-a-lifetime experience, but if they are not on board with our president and what he stands for, then I am good with all of it. I think it is their personal choice,” Qerim continued.
“I don’t think they can make people go and hold it against them if they don’t want to go — or if they do want to go, for that matter. I would assume that the players that choose not to go are taking a stance against Trump, unless they’ve been a few times before.
“As for those who choose to go, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are pro-Trump. It is not about him — it’s about the history, experience, honor and being able to say, ‘I’ve just won a frigging Super Bowl.'”
“First Take” airs daily on ESPN at 10 a.m.